Thursday, December 30, 2010

3 Common Weaknesses of other Copier & MFP's

Just yesterday the thread below was posted on the Print4Pay Hotel forums

Hi, all! I have learned recently that envelopes are a weakness of Ricoh machines. So now I am wondering what weaknesses the other brands (KM, Toshiba, etc) have. I know color on Ricoh is supposed to be the best, but besides that, are there any specific problems with other machines that I can point to when selling Ricohs? Thanks!

Here's my response:

k, I'll chime in, when it comes to speeds and features I don't see many weakness from any of the manufacturers. That's not to say there aren't any.

Over the years, I learned to dig a little deeper than the brochure and the spec page. Of course one of the main resources has been to go here on the Print4Pay Hotel forums and ask a question about a certain model or manufacturer. Another tip is to download the print driver and the operators manual, believe it or not you'll be able to pick a system apart with the op manual as long as you also have a good understanding of the device you are trying to sell. Another decent resource is to search YouTube and see if there are any videos that describe "How to" do this or that with the device.

Over the years I relied less on trying to beat the machine specs, and more on how to beat my competitors, whether it's a dealer or a direct manufacturer. Look for weaknesses in the sales agreement, the maintenance agreement or the leasing company that they use, try to know more about how they do business and you'll be able to sell against them.

Just and FYI, I ran across a sales contract from a major direct branch in my market area. The contract was left for the customer to review and I was able to secure a copy for myself. At first glance there was nothing special, nothing glaring, just an average contract for sale, however when I went back to read it a second time I found three major points where I could make my case.

The first is that on the sales agreement there is also a section for the maintenance agreement. There was a guarantee that stated they would credit the customers account $25.00 for every hour that they were not there after the 8 hour default. What that tells me is that I can explain to the customer that 8 hours is the normal turn around for service and not 4. If 4 was the normal, then state it like they did with 8 hours.

The second was that their fantastic guarantee did not cover any units slower than 28 pages per minute. (all of this was in the small print).

There was one more, however I need to keep that close to home and not make them aware that I know another weakness in their contract. 
Just to review, sell yourself, sell your services, find a knock out feature, or a knock out workflow (meaning on the zebra xyz copier, they may have to use 15 click through's  of the mouse for a certain print setting, or they may have to go through 5 sub menus to get to a much used mfp feature). Do, the homework and remember the harder you work, the luckier you get.

BTW, I've revealed that on the Print4Pay Hotel Forums, click and become a member of the largest social network of Imaging Professionals in the World!

-=Good Selling=-

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

This Week in Toshiba "TWIT Notes"

Toshiba announced it is entering the electronic book market, with its new Toshiba Biblio Leaf:

o Solar powered

o 6” b/w touchscreen display

o 800x600dpi


o SD memory card slot

o WiFi and 3G wireless connections

o $20/month subscription

o 12 hour battery life

o Expected price of $150.00

Toshiba announced it will outsource some of its system chip manufacturing to Samsung of South Korea. This will allow the company to grow its memory chip production.

Toshiba announced it is selling its Nagasaki, Japan system chip plant, which was losing money, to Sony Corp. for $599 million. Sony will use the plant to make CMOS sensors for cell phones and digital cameras.

Toshiba launched the world’s first 3D HDTV set that does not need special 3D glasses. The 12” flat screen, called Regza GL1, will sell for $1400.00

Toshiba announced that revenue from its nuclear plant business may reach $12 billion in next 3 years.

-=Good Selling=-

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

To Ricoh "What I Want for Christmas" 2010

Christmas Note:  Glass ornaments are the most popular of today's German Christmas decorations. One glass ornament in particular is very interesting. It is a pickle! Pickles were used as common German Christmas decorations on the Christmas tree. The legend of the pickle states that when decorating the tree, you must hang the pickle last and hide it among the Christmas tree branches. On Christmas Day, the first kid to find the pickle would get a special blessing for the coming New Year and an extra present

Back in 08 I posted a blog titled To Ricoh "What I Want for Christmas", some of those Christmas wishes came or are coming true almost two years later.  I had asked for Color Scanning on high volume units (got it and Santa made me happy), print files from USB or SD cards (got it, about two years late), a Gelsprinter Plotter (I got an Epson instead), a real A4 device (not some printer with scanner attached, don't have this yet, however Santa's suppose to bring me one after Christmas), a Digital Duplicator that duplex's 11x17 (nope, didn't get one of these either), Biometric Authentication (did not get and I'm really pissed), a wide format system that will scan in color (dagnabit, I was suppose to get this a few months ago, all I hear is that it's coming, thanx Santa another gift that everyone else got but me). 

So, this year I put together another wish list from Ricoh:

  • Duplexing A3 Digital Duplicator that prints in two colors!
  • 50, 60, 70 ppm A4 MFP that has the cost per page of the A3 MFP
  • Low Volume wide format system with color scanning (4 pages per minute or less)
  • A "Green" MFP that will let me use the same paper over and over (erase image)
  • A Digital Color Envelope Press (really, really want this)
  • A Booklet Finisher that will fold and staple thick stock for Segment 3 & 4 systems
  • A folding unit that will create a "z" or "gate" fold on letter size prints or copies
  • Embedded Print Cost Calculation Software that will allow us to charge by coverage used
  • Embedded Print Software that will report what documents were printed and by whom
  • A 20ppm A4 MFP that has a retail cost per page of .10 cents
I don't think I'm gonna see any of these this Christmas and I'm kinda wishy washy about next Christmas also, but I'm going to keep the faith that Father Christmas will make a few of these happen.

Do you have a wish list from another manufacturer or even Ricoh, if so post in the comments section!

-=Merry Christmas=-

Sunday, December 19, 2010

This Week in Ricoh "TWIR Notes"

- More info on the new Ricoh A4 color laser MFPs, the Aficio MP C300 and MP C400 offering:

o while are A4 (meaning letter/legal size paper only), the main engine is so large, apparently it is designed to be a floor standing unit only

o 30ppm and 40ppm top speeds respectively

o Maximum recommended volume of 20K/month

o Document feeder scans at 30opm

o 8.5” color touch screen LCD display that tilts up and down

o 600x600dpi as copier and 1200x1200dpi as printer (1, 2 or 4 bits per pixel)

o Comes standard with single 550 sheet paper drawer and 100 sheet stack bypass

 Maximum paper capacity with options of 2,300 sheets

 Can handle up to 256gsm

 Auto duplex standard up to 163gsm

o Uses Ricoh PxP polymerized toner w/4 tandem OPC drum design

o 60 second warm up time with 15 second first color copy out time

o Optional fax board (up to 400dpi with optional RAM)

o Optional internal stapling finisher with hole punch

o Built-in print controller: (actual maker unknown)

 1.5GB RAM/160GB hard drive

 Intel Celeron 1GHz processor

 XPS, PCL and PostScript print drivers standard

 USB & 10/100BaseT ports standard

 Optional 1000BaseT gigabit Ethernet

 Scan to and print from USB thumb drive or SD digital camera memory card

 Scan to email/FTP/SMB/URL/NCP/TWAIN/LDAP/folder

• Optional File Format converter for user box like features

• Optional web browser

 Optional embedded software (uses UNIX and JAVA operating systems)

 Optional hard drive encryption kit and data overwrite kits

- Ricoh announced it will offer biometric readers in conjunction with Equitrac cost recovery options for its MFPs.

o “unlike card and password protected authentication, biometric characteristics can not be misappropriated through bullying”

o “this technology is the safest possible way to identify the user”

o As compared with proximity cards; “the replacement of cards and wasted paper is also costly”
- In a cost cutting move, Ricoh announced it is shrinking its wholesale division from 4 regions to only 2:
o Mark Conant (east) and John Stewart (west) are two RVPs left

o The district sales managers will now support all Ricoh, Savin & Lanier dealers, rather than having separate personnel for each brand

-=Good Selling=-

Multifunctional Copier Sales in 2010

Let's see I've got three more selling days before the end of the month, the end of the quarter and the end of the year. The last six months of sales has made up for the first six months of the year, I'll finish above quota (whew!) for the month, the quarter and the year.

Here's some things from last year that stuck in my mind from 2010

1) I wrote about two months of business that I couldn't get approved for credit.
2) I'm begining to see more "down the street" quotes that are trying to hold margins, rather than give away the store.
3) The emergence of micro leasing companies that are generating lease approvals but with a high interest rate.
4) I've seen more A4 devices quoted this year than the last two.
5) End users are more concerned about how to reduce the number of printed, copied and faxed pages (at one time I had to intiate the talk track).

Things that I have to be concerned about in 2011

1) More A4 MFP's will mean I'll need to sell more hardware and solutions to compensate for the lower cost A4 devices.
2) Credit will remain tight, I'll need to pick and choose my battles for revenue and profit.
3) The rise of Smart MFP's

All in all 2010 was better than 2011, my goal was to make President's Club for 2010 and my goal for 2011 is another President's Club and to increase my margins.

I'll be starting my 31st year in "down the street" sales for the copier industry in 2011. I'd like to say that I've seen it all, however as our industry continues to evolve there's going to be many changes coming our way, and we need to change and adapt new strategies and techniques that will put us on thier valued people that they need to do business with. Always keep in mind "the harder you work, the luckier you get".

How was your year, let me know by posting a comment!

-=Good Selling=-

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

ITEX 2011 Addresses the Future of Office Solutions

By Sand Sinclair, ITEX Conference Director

In its 11th year, the ITEX National Expo & Conference, the largest North American trade show in the imaging channel, is getting set to deliver real solutions, real opportunities, and real value to the thousands of dealers and providers who look to ITEX for trendsetting information to advance their business.

From education tracks with critical topics needing to be addressed (and are) by experts in their fields, to a huge exhibit floor with the newest technologies and professional services offered, ITEX has become the ideal venue to find the most credible solutions in the channel. Innovative technologies, mission-critical information, and collaborative business intelligence are strategically in place for ITEX 2011 attendees. A line up of state of the art office products and methodologies will soon showcase the ways, means and future of office solutions in order to thrive – right now, right methods, right road for beyond.

Each year the mega tradeshow addresses the current state of the industry – and economy – by providing a “power menu of information tools” at their annual expo, this year held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington DC, on March 22-23.

Power Hours and More

In a matter of two days, the all-encompassing ITEX Expo synergistically connects a vast exhibit floor with 35 strategically developed Power Hour classes within five education tracks. Presented by experienced industry experts and confident dealers with hands-on experience to share, valuable information is also found in mini-forums for more in depth focus, including the MPS Strategy Forum held simultaneously at the show, and two pre-conference workshops held one day prior to the official show opening. The latter addresses both Managed Services and Service Operations in half day workshops. All ITEX education is developed, reviewed and implemented from use of ongoing research and collaborative consulting resources then collectively assembled as salient topics within trendsetting track categories. All sessions address the current needs of office dealers and business providers.

Without question, as companies face the challenge of maintaining profit levels, it takes commitment to providing a broad menu of services to secure market share, while retaining existing customer business. By adopting modern strategies and implementing new methods, by adjusting dealer portfolios to meet market demand, by achieving new service benchmark levels, and readily getting trained where needed, providers can get ahead of the competition. Getting beside or beyond the hybrid dealer mind set today in order to grow your business takes commitment. It means sidestepping today’s economic uncertainty in favor of learning new means that will alter the course of your business. Ideally, ITEX provides the best opportunity for providers to both learn and network, finding good partnerships to advance company growth.

From solid education and product to special forums and Perfect Image Awards, from visionaries kicking off keynotes (MWAi / Intel) to current events for association members who network at the show – the tangible tools ITEX delivers will affect your company today – along with its future tomorrow. For detailed information visit

Note from Art:  See you all at the show, it should be the premier event of the year!

-= Good Selling=-

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Copier Sales "What to Do With Voice Mail"

Tired of playing voice mail tag?

Tired of the prospect not returned your calls?

To some this means that the prospect is not interested, while others will view this as a need to move on to the next call. To the really good marketers they see this as the prospect is too busy and has not found the time to return your call. Help the guy or gal out and set your own appointment!

Use this to your advantage!! The next time you get the dreaded voice mail, leave them this message.

Hi this is so and so with XYD company, I tried to reach you on several occassions, I going to be in your area next week. What I'd like to do is to stop by at 1PM to meet with you, if this is not convienent for you, please call me at (phone number). Other wise I'll see you then.

If they don't call you go on the appointment, and if they do call at least you've go them to communicate. It's a win win, and don't be a afraid to show up, 8 out of tens times they will see if and if not, they will remember you.

-=Good Selling=-

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Tips for Securing the MFP & Copier Appointment

How many calls will it take to get an appointment?

It's a question I'm often asked by the newbie’s in the office. My answer is, it's a lot, I don't have any breakdowns for numbers nor do I bother to keep track of that stuff. I just go about my business making calls and lots of them.

It's very rare to get an appointment on the first call, unless you found the right person at the right time, it does happen from time to time. If I had to guess, I would tend to think it's about 10 times of reaching out to that person would be the average for me.

Over the years I found that you need to be cool, confident, and precise and deliver your benefit statement quickly to the right person.

First rule is to make sure who the "right" person is, meaning if you're selling copiers there's a chance that the CEO, CFO may not be involved in the preliminary discussions. The key for me is to ask the person who picks up the phone that is in charge of purchasing or evaluating this product or hardware at your company. More than half of the time they'll tell you who that person is, and then getting a hold of that person could be a horse of a different color.

What happens when the "gate keeper" won't give you the name of the "right" person? Well, for starters you could move on to the next call, and then schedule a follow up call in another week or so, and move the timing of the call to the early morning or late afternoon, you may get someone else that will give you the name of the "right" person. If that doesn't work, you can always look them up on the internet and see who's who in the company (try contacting someone else and ask for help). When that doesn't work take a trip over to LinkedIn and see if any of the key people are listed over there. Above all, the best answer I can give anyone is to not give up, sooner or later you'll get the "right" person.

Once you have the right person, you can do a "box" approach, such as leave them a voice mail, follow up a week later with a letter, and then either do a "drop off" or an email. Doing this will increase your chances the next time you call; the "right" person will at least speak to you. Of course then it's up to you to give a clean, clear and crisp pitch with an open ended question to gain the appointment.

I'm just as happy with getting to speak to the "right" person and them telling me that they don't have a need for my services now. Once I hear that I can then ask, what would be the best time to contact you in the future (I then get to move the call out "a" amount of months and concentrate on those other calls), and or what would be the best way for us to become and valued vendor? Either you'll get, call us in "x" amount of months, or the "right" person will ask you when you are available for an appointment (this has happened and happens more than you think).

Calling for appointments is part of your job, you do whether you like it or not. Have fun with it; see it as a challenge rather than a problem. Give yourself congrats when you get an appointment, and while you're at it make another appointment, they seem to come in bunches.

In closing, about two years ago, I cold called a company, and as luck would have it (the harder you work, the luckier you get), I met the right person. I was at the right place at the right time, we scheduled an appointment and I sold him a new copier, we'll the next day he called and cancelled and stated he just wasn't ready yet to commit to a long term lease. Well, yesterday he signed another order and did not cancel so after an additional geesh 100 phone calls and maybe another 100 emails I got the order back. It took two years, and you know what he told me, he told me that he would have not bought a new copier from anyone else but me, because of my work ethic and knowledge. Hope this helps!!

-=Good Selling=-

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Jersey Shore Christmas

Yeah, it's been 5 whole days since I've blogged, and shame on me, but I've been up to my ears in honey due things to do to get ready for Christmas!  To my boss, I've also been concentrating on closing the year strong and making sure that I'm shutting down the store on the 17th for a well deserved break (crossing my fingers).

So, being on the road so much give me time during my lunch break (right) to cruise on those less traveled roads, cut through towns with names like Scobeyville, Ocean Grove, Lake Como,  and Squankum. With time on my hands, and a digital camera, I bring you some of the finest decorated home for Christmas at the Jersey Shore.

Geez, I think the dates wrong on the camera, however this picture was taken in Belmar, NJ

I really enjoyed the large wrap around porch and the enormous amounts of garland.

Sea Girt, NJ
One of my favorites here, especially the colors of the house. I believe this shot was taken in Sea Girt, NJ.  Awesome!

Sea Girt, NJ

Another Majestic home in Sea Girt, NJ just a couple of blocks from the beach!

Light House in Sea Girt, NJ
Light House in Sea Girt, NJ, across the street is the boardwalk an then the ocean.

Inn at the Beach

Don't remember what town this was, however it's right off the beach in either Avalon, Belmar or Spring Lake.

Belmar, NJ ?

Another grand ole house at the Jersey Shore, simple decorating makes it another one of my top

Twin Lights Light House, HIghlands (rear pic)

This is a picture from the back of the Twin Lights Lighthouse, name twin light because there are two towers on either side of the structure. The first time I saw the Twin Lights I thought it was a castle on top of the hill.  Wait until you see the view in the next picture.

Twin Light Light House, Highlands, NJ

It's just an awesome structure that sits on one of the highest points on the East Coast of the US.  This lighthouse over looks the Atlantic Ocean, Navesink and Shrewsbury Rivers along with Sandy Hook Bay.

That's all I have time for now, will try to get some additional pics of other home at the Jersey Shore, hope you  enjoyed them.

-=Good Selling=-
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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Copier Manufacturer Shuffles from 4 to 2 Regions

Yesterday was another one of those days that make you wonder what in the hell is wrong in the world today!

I had just finished my 10AM appointment to gather last minute lease docs, and check and was then off to see another account when I got the call.  A friend at a local copier company called to tell me that Rikon had just condensed their Dealer Regions from 4 to 2. Ok, I thought why are you calling me to tell me this?  Well, with the consolidation word on the street is that up to 50% of the Rikon Dealer support people will be out of a job come December 31st. Could this be true?

The first thing that hit me was the fact that it's three weeks before Christmas and or the Holidays.  How does a company do this to long standing employees? Couldn't they have held out until the end of the fiscal year (March 2011)?  Plus, did they really need to reduce the Dealer work force, or could they have focused on making their Direct Operations more responsible for turning a profit and booted those people if a profit was not turned. The word came down is they wanted to make the Dealer Channel more like the Direct Channel...well, ok maybe the next thing we'll hear is that they want the Dealer Channel to lose money like the Direct Channel?

This was posted on the Print4Pay Hotel forums yesterday; "Today, Rikon employees (Dealer Division) were had to Call IN and they received one of two PRE-RECORDED MESSAGES:

A. You have been eliminated

B. You are being re-positioned

Now, I doubt it was explained that way, but if this is true (again I heard this from a few sources), couldn't it have been done in a more professional manner? Is there a more professional manner or is this now the norm in Corporate America? If this is the norm, how low is this that no one could at least call the employees and explain that they no longer have a position. I for one would be extremely disappointed with the entire process.

I understand business is business, but there was no alternative, was Rikon going to go out of business if they didn't make a move until the end of the fiscal year? Maybe the new Rikon head honchos were concerned that they may have been on the chopping black come the end of the fiscal year.

BTW, the letter that went out to dealers made no mention of the layoffs/terminations. Yesterday, we lost some good people that have provided excellent support through out the years, I for one, wish them well and hope that they'll be back up and running soon.

-=Good Selling=-